Water, water, water. So often we hear, read, and talk about the importance of water consumption every single day. We’re encouraged to cut out any other drinks (especially those loaded with sugar) and pushed to up our daily water consumption. But what if I told you that it doesn’t have to just be water? I’ve made it a point to incorporate and consciously consume more green tea in my daily diet.
Green tea is made from the leaves of small shrubs and trees, a species called Camellia Sinesis. For the last couple of years, there’s been a build up of “hype” over the all-natural drink which has lead to the increased consumption by the health-seeking population of people, but how many people actually know the health benefits and science behind why green tea is worth drinking? So what exactly are the benefits and how much should you drink a day?
1) Packed with powerful antioxidants
Just some of the antioxidants found inside green tea are flavonoids, catechins, and epigallocatechin gallate. These antioxidants prevent the formation of free radicals in our body. These antioxidants protect cells and molecules from damage and have natural medicinal properties to help keep our immune system strong.
2) Contains minerals conducive to growth and good health
The fitness world is so focused on hitting the proper amount of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins, water) that we often forget the importance of consuming the proper micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well. An inadequate consumption of minerals in our diets can result in corresponding illnesses. While green tea contains an abundance of different minerals per cup some of the “major” minerals (and their function) include: potassium (helps to regulate nerve function and maintain fluids and electrolytes), calcium (essential for bone strength and function of blood cells), phosphorous (plays a major role in structure of DNA cells), magnesium (necessary for structural development of bones, plus all enzymes utilizing or synthesizing ATP require the presence of magnesium), zinc (plays an important role in immune function and is involved in cellular metabolism), and iron (needed for protein). While green tea is full of minerals necessary for proper function, it is important that we do not try to consume all of our minerals through solely drinking green tea.
3) Improves brain function
While it’s common knowledge to understand that caffeine is a stimulant, what most people don’t realize is that it blocks inhibitory neurotransmitters and contains amino acids that are able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Because of these properties consuming green to helps to increase our ability to think and perform intellectually.
4) Increases fat burning and improve physical performance
When looking at most fat burning supplements available on the market, green tea is most likely an included ingredient. It has been proven to boost metabolic rate, increases energy expenditure, and increases fat burning. However, it is important to recognize that not all individuals react the same and the rates of increase may vary from individual to individual.
How much green tea should you drink?
Just like any part of health and fitness—you can’t expect results if you’re inconsistent with a routine. The many health benefits of green tea don’t come into effect with just one cup. It is recommended to consume 2-3 cups of green tea a day for the most effective benefits.